Truth is, I hear about this kind of thing happening all of the time. But today, I don’t know how to feel because, I used to know Robards. We went to grade school together. His mom was my brother and sister’s first grade teacher. His dad coached my brother’s soccer team. I always kind of had a crush on him. He was tall and dark, and he was a year younger than me, which always left him kind of off limits. Especially in grade school when no one really dates anyway. So instead, at choir concerts, I’d admire his falsetto solos from my spot in the chorus on the risers. I remember his smile and his wavy brunette hair and that he was funny and carefree and smart and he came from a really good, loving family. Until last night, I hadn’t seen him since high school. He looked different on the news. Even though he had very much turned into a man, he looked scared and lost and like he had just thrown part of his life away.
I’ve never been more confused. I’m caught between wanting him to get an easy sentence because his only other conviction was a speeding ticket in 1999 and wanting him to serve the full 15 years because then maybe, people will really think before they get behind the wheel after a night of drinking and holiday parties and maybe they will realize how easily they can take someone else’s life. I don’t know how to react. He wasn’t the one who was killed. His is not the family that needs sympathy cards and support in the way we’re used to. But his family still needs people, and he is still going to need people. I’m not sure how I will choose to be there for them, if at all, but I do know that I am going to think much harder about driving even after one beer. It’s just not worth it.